Son Bou & Cala Galdana
Son Bou & Cala Galdana, Menorca
Whether you're after inland, rural retreats or Caribbean-like beaches, this region of Menorca will look after you.
The town of Alaior, set high on a hill, is blessed with stunning views and typical Menorcan buildings that make it just inspirational. And, likewise with Ferreries, surrounded by mesmerising hills and valleys. This really is a place to get out into the country and appreciate the authentic Menorcan life and the unspoilt countryside the island tries so hard to protect.
And for some of the most stunning beaches in the country, head to Cala Galdana and Son Bou where you'll be greeted by crystal-clear, shallow waters, warmed by the mid-day sun, and powdery soft white sand you'll never want to leave. Throw in a plethora of watersports for if you're feeling active and some lovely water-front restaurants, and this could be the perfect beach holiday you're looking for.
Out and About
Menorca has some dreamy picture-perfect beaches, and is well-known for them, but what of their inland cities and towns. Well, if you do want a break from the beach, the town of Alaior has bucketfuls of charm.
Sat on an ancient hill, the third largest town in Menorca has a fantastic medieval centre surrounded by a maze of narrow, cobbled streets, and dominated by the 17th-century baroque-inspired church. Awash with traditional whitewashed Menorcan houses and buildings, it's such a pretty place to amble through taking in the elegant squares with their welcoming cafes and restaurants, and the main shopping centre - the Carrer des Ramal. Here you'll find artisan cobblers, boutique clothes shops, bakeries and many cheese shops, for it is in Alaior that the internationally acclaimed Menorcan cheese (Queso de Menorca) is made. You can even visit the Coinga factory where this happens, but check visiting times before you go.
Being on a hill, Alaior benefits from some wonderful countryside views, and the Munt de l’Angel Park, next to the Church is a great spot to enjoy them from. Then, as the sun sets, sit back and enjoy the views at one of the delightful little restaurants or welcoming bars. Alaior looks beautiful as the light changes on the whitewashed buildings. For a livelier scene, you can always head over to one of the beachside resorts, or of course the capital - Mahon.
The countryside itself is quite lovely. It's safe to say, the Menorcans know how to look after their surroundings, and along with a well-organised route of walking and cycling pathways all across the island, you can appreciate all Menorca has to offer. Don't be surprised to see horses wandering around the countryside and through the town streets though, there's a lot of them around Alaior.
If the sun is warm, and you are hankering after a beach, you're never too far away from one in Menorca. The beautiful curved beach of Cala en Porter and long stretch of golden sand at Son Bou are both around 10km away from Alaior, which you can reach easily by bus or car. Both are great for families, meaning there really is something for everyone when staying in this delightful old town.
Es Migjorn Gran
If you're looking for a slice of authentic Menorcan life, head inland to the remote little unspoilt town of Es Migjorn Gran.
A small residential area, full of locals living everyday life, there are a number of restaurants, shops and cafes where you can certainly enjoy some traditional Menorcan fare. And, in the summer there's a petite night market at the Plaza de la Iglesia selling local, handmade goods, which is lovely to stroll around after an evening meal. Walking around, you will notice how it has retained its authentic charm and architecture, including that of The Church of San Cristobal.
Being inland, this unassuming little town is surrounded by the most glorious pine-clad hills and glorious countryside, crossed by rural paths to cycle, hike and amble through. You can even walk through the woods to Santo Tomas - a truly wonderful beach resort with golden sands and crystal-clear waters. Aside from the beach, you'll also discover its many restaurants, supermarkets and shops to stock-up at or indeed eat out.
There are a couple of other little treasures waiting for anyone who visits Es Migjorn including the Cova des Coloms - caves thought to be used as a sanctuary or place of religious pilgrimage. Known as La Catedral due to its sheer size, they are quite impressive but they can be tricky to find, so ask for directions before you set out on your journey. And secondly, if you're visiting towards the end of July or beginning of August there's the Fiesta, where the iconic Menorcan horses and their riders parade through the town streets. It's quite a spectacle.
The beauty of a Menorcan inland town is the surrounding countryside. For a country known to protect and look after its natural environment, there are some beautiful sights, and the town of Ferreries is certainly a place from which to enjoy them.
An authentic whitewashed Menorcan town, surrounded by mesmerising hills and valleys, make this a much-desired holiday location. Starting with the town itself, this is the kind of place you'd like to spend your days ambling around, starting with its fantastic array of shops. Apart from the usual clothes boutiques, food and jewellery shops, there are some great shoe outlets - for which Ferreries is known, one of them being owned by the celebrated Jaime Mascaro. Here you can buy his shoes for a fraction of the price you'd pay in other countries. There's also some fantastic furniture shops, which are a delight to browse around, and a couple of local markets on a Saturday morning and in the evening, which run through the summer selling local crafts and leather.
Then when you're ready for those perfect summer walks through the countryside, head out to the south for ravines of fantastic natural beauty or the north hill of Saint Agatha for instagram-worthy views. Cycling and horse-riding are also encouraged out on this pretty Menorcan terrain where trails pave the way for a relaxing ride.
For those wanting to head to the beach, the extremely picturesque seaside resort of Cala Galdana is about a 10-minute drive away where you will find a beach akin to those found in the Caribbean. White sands, crystal-clear turquoise waters, shallow enough for the children to paddle in, this is a heavenly spot, and there's plenty to do too. And then for some culture, head to the nearby historic town of Cuitadella with its bustling port, wonderful architecture and great bars and restaurants.
Lovers of getting back to nature, jaw-dropping beaches and authentic Menorcan towns will love Fererries.
Likened to the beaches of the Caribbean, and featuring an array of things to do for all the family, it's no wonder Cala Galdana has been graced by some as the 'Queen of the Calas.'
This picture-perfect horseshoe cove on the south west coast of Menorca, encircled by marvellous pine-clad cliffs may be one of the most photographed beaches on Menorca, but there's more to Cala Galdana than its good looks. The gently shelving white sand into the calm, turquoise waters makes it a perfect play place for young children, and a haven for sunbathers. And, with plenty of activities available including scuba diving, boat trips, mini golf and cycling, there's always something to do.
Want a bite to eat? The Menorcans love their food, and there's plenty of great options, whether it's dining at a simple cafe, a rustic tapas bar or a top seafood restaurant. Then there's the bars where you can relax, watch the sun set and enjoy a cocktail or two. Or, for a livelier scene you can visit one of the many venues hosting themed nights and light entertainment to really make the most of your evenings. Why not try one of Menorca’s best horse shows at the Club Escola Menorquina, where horseriders dress in traditional island style and show what their horses can do - a performance for all the family.
With such stunning scenery surrounding Cala Galdana, it would be a shame not to make the most of it. Walking or cycling along Menorca's organised network of scenic paths is gorgeous, appreciating the unspoilt countryside and secluded natural beaches of Cala Mitjana and Cala Macarella nearby. The small river running through the spectacular ravine of Algendar Gorge with its abundance of flora, fauna and wildlife flows into the sea, enhancing the natural charm of Cala Galdana.
For a spot of culture, you can always head on over to Ciutadella - a vibrant, historic city where you can enjoy a drink or two around its pretty harbour or marvel at the architecural beauty the old town has to offer. All in all, a trip to Cala Galdana is one where wonderful memories will be made.
Imagine a long stretch of soft, white sand, transparent turquoise waters, little ones paddling around in the shallows, while you relax on a sun-lounger enjoying the warm, Menorcan sun.
Son Bou, on the south coast, is just a 30-minute drive from Mahon, and has the longest beach in Menorca, so there's plenty of space to live out the idyllic beach life. If you're not reclining on a sun-bed with your book, you might be splashing about in the beautiful sea with your children, or even taking part in a spot of water-sports. Here you'll find kayaking, snorkelling, boat rides, water ski-ing and some good old-fashioned pedalos for some proper family fun.
Backed by some pretty sand-dunes, Son Bou is an extremely attractive beach with Caribbean-like features. But, it's not all about the beach. Surrounded by unspoilt countryside, you can navigate the many coastal trails across the island using the Cami de Cavalls by bike, foot or horse. There are some beautiful sites, including the prehistoric settlement of Torre d'en Gaumes or the Roman Basilica, where you can see the remnants of an early Christian church. You'll even find extensive wetlands behind the beach. This protected nature reserve is home to many birds, insects and amphibians.
Son Bou is split into three district areas and includes San Jaime, set behind the beach. This set of beautiful villas run the length of the hill. Developed with families in mind, here you can find everything you need for your holiday including supermarkets, shops and a club with fantastic water chutes for the kids. Along with a commercial centre at Son Bou, the array of shopping and dining options continue. There's beach-bars, restaurants, shops, designer outlets - even ten-pin bowling. And for after-hours, many of the bars will stay open late, with some of the venues and hotels offering light entertainment into the evening.
If you do decide to venture out of this vibrant resort, you can head into Alaior with its medieval centre for a spot of lunch or an early evening stroll, or even into the capital, Mahon to visit the popular harbour and do a spot of shopping. Then head back to Son Bou for an evening refreshment, ready for a fun-filled day of Menorcan sun, white sands and inviting turquoise sea the next day.
If you like views, but want to be right near the beach, you'll want to get up high and head for the villas around Cala Galdana, where some properties stretch up the Algendar Forge, or Son Bou, where the resort runs the full length of the hill, down to the Caribbean-like beach.
Not to be missed
As one of the most photographed beaches in Menorca, a trip or stay at Cala Galdana beach is a must, followed by a tantalising seafood meal.
Hit Alaior as the sun is setting, and watch the light changing the whitewashed buildings into a pretty palette of colours before your very eyes.